Current Events Study: Senate Filibuster
(Note) If you have not introduced civics yet, you will need to cover a bit of background information to help your children grasp what a filibuster is. A great site to use is: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/3-5/index.html. We love the Schoolhouse Rocks videos to help teach a concept. Here is “I’m Just a Bill”:
With Senator Rand Paul launching a filibuster, it seems the appropriate time to present a lesson on this in our homeschool. After googling filibuster unit study tonight and finding next to nothing on the topic, I thought I would write a post on it. I have provided a word document of the Filibuster Study for you to download, if you choose to.
What is a filibuster? The Filibuster is a parliamentary tool used to delay legislation or a nomination on the senate floor. It might possibly be better described as talking a bill to death! It is essentially the right to unlimited debate. In the senate, a senator or a series of senators are allowed to speak for as long as they want to on any topic they want to speak on.
What effect does this procedure have? It keeps debate going in an attempt to prevent a nomination or a bill from being voted on.
How does it end? Ending a filibuster can be done through a cloture vote. A cloture vote requires sixteen senators to formally propose cloture and 60 (3/5 of the Senate) must vote in favor of ending it, so it takes a supermajority of 60 votes to end the filibuster.
Where did the filibuster tactic come from? No surprise here, if you have studied the American form of government and it’s origins. It’s from the Ancient Rome! One of the first known practitioners of the filibuster was the Roman Senator, Cato the Younger.
Dig deeper! A few Blooms questions to encourage a deeper understanding and application of this concept:
- What are some advantages of the filibuster? Disadvantages?
- Is it constitutional?
- Who holds the record for the longest filibuster? What was the legislation / nomination they were filibustering?
- Who was Cato the Younger?
- Who is filibustering the Senate now? What nomination / legislation are they opposed to? (NOTE: If you don’t know the answer to this, do not send your children off researching it… this could seriously rock a child’s world)!
Documents to help present this study:
- I found some great government cards and work at Ashleigh’s Education Journey
- Our Filibuster Study Document Filibuster Study
- I created some three part cards for this study as well Government 3 part cards
- A GREAT Venn diagram by Kids Discover of the branches of government for older students.
Until next time…